2020 hasn’t been a normal year for film. Unprecedented is probably the word I would use. It’s the year where a global pandemic shut everything down, and that includes our beloved cinemas. Conversations around streaming services releasing movies that skip the cinema have been rife over the past few years. Would streaming services slowly destroy cinema as we know it? Now, that conversation has long gone. Everyone, including myself loves the fact that whilst we’re still in lockdown and Covid-19 continues to rage its way through the world, we have the option to watch a brand new release, at the comfort of our own homes. Albeit, a few titles haven’t exactly been that exciting to watch (Artemis Fowl) but, to get to experience Spike Lee’s new joint at home has been magnificent.
‘Da 5 Bloods’ as mentioned above is Spike Lee’s new movie. Set around four African American men and one of their sons, go back to Vietnam to recover their friend’s body that still remains in Vietnam, but also to recover millions worth of buried gold. Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis), Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr) & David (Jonathan Majors) all go through one final journey together through the Vietnam jungle to unearth secrets and confess their feelings towards their memories and society today.
Spike Lee, as a director, has never shied away from making true and authentic film making that reflects society at that current moment in time. Whether that be dealing with police brutality towards African Americans in ‘Do The Right Thing’ back in 1989, chronicling the rise and fall of Malcolm X in the early 90’s or shedding light on the infamous story of a black man infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan in his most recent directorial feature ‘BlacKkKlansman’. Lee continues this brilliant streak of over 40 years of experience and delivers, in my opinion, one of his greatest pieces of work. What I loved most about this film in particular is that I did not expect the movie to go the way where it ended. I bought into the idea that these men were going back to Vietnam for a “farewell” holiday to bury old memories and come out fresh at the end. I was naïve that anything else could happen to these men. The mental and physical torture they endure throughout is almost reminiscent of what they experienced when they were young men drafted back in the 1960’s. Not only that, Lee’s ability to mix heartfelt moments that really struck me and his way of bringing humour and shock to the table too. There is one particular scene over the halfway mark that made me almost fall off my seat. I was on edge throughout this scene. I won’t get into specifics, but if you watch it, you’ll completely understand.
The film centres on all characters. Every single one of them as important as the other in regards to the story line. The one actor that stands out immensely is Delroy Lindo. Easily the more developed and broken character of the story. Lindo portrays Paul as the character who has never gotten over the events of Vietnam and has a secret inside him burning away that he hasn’t shared with his friends since the war finished. His quick descent into madness and tunnel vision threatens to sabotage the group’s mission as he tackles everything head on, whilst having his son journey with him. It may be a long time coming for Lindo to get the recognition he deserves for his performance in this film as we have no idea if there will be any kind of Awards Season towards the end of this year due to the lack of films released in cinemas. But, if it comes to waiting another year, then ‘Da 5 Bloods’ deserves many nominations. Especially for Spike Lee’s direction and Delroy Lindo’s acting performance. For me, it’s a near perfect war movie. Not necessarily set around war, but dealing with the aftermath and pain from a gruesome war.
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